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Sunday, September 1, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 1 How I got started

I'll give this a shot and see if I can actually post all 30 days.

In 1980, I was stationed in Orlando, Florida at the US Navy Nuclear Training Center, learning about nuclear reactors and all of the things that went along with it.   It was a very time consuming and stressful training, requiring 40 hours a week regular classtime and a minimum of 40 extra hours a week logged in for after hours study (which had to be done IN the building, since most everything we were learning had been marked Classified).  

At that time, at the ripe old age of 18, most of my down time was either spent on dates or at bars on or off base (I really enjoyed dancing back then and it was the tail end of the age of disco).   Some of my classmates had been talking for a while about a game they had been playing on Saturday evenings, something called 'Dungeons and Dragons'.  They invited me to play, but frankly, the descriptions of what they were talking about didn't sound that appealing to me at the time.

Then one weekend, I was at loose ends, both of the girls I had been dating were out of town and I really didn't feel like hitting the bars, it was already starting to get old to me, so I planned on sitting in the barracks and reading that night.   My roommate, who was one of the players in the game, suggested again coming to play, or at least watch, and see what I thought about it.   I was about to politely demur when he said the magic words "There will be pizza from xxxxx (I forget the name of the pizza place, but it had some of the best pizza I had tasted to date)"    That did the trick, what the heck, I could have really good pizza instead of leaving base or eating whatever was being served in the mess hall.

I went and met the Dungeon Master, an older Chief Petty Officer (E7, Think Sgt First Class in the Army), who I had seen around the school.  There were six regular players, all but one of them, E3's like myself, and students of the Nuke School, the other fellow was an Ensign (lowest ranking officer), also from the Nuke School, but the Officers had their own building for training, and other than trying to avoid having to salute what seemed like a million of them if they got out of their classes at the same time we did (some of them were real jerks about it), we had little contact with them most of the time.

The Chief told me about the game, and he talked me through creating a character (it was 1st edition AD&D with lots of house rules), I created a human ranger, named him Corwin (I was working my way through the Amber series at the time), leveled him to level 3 to be just a level lower than the average of the others and we began playing.    Next thing I knew, it was 0200 and we had been playing for eight hours and I had a blast.

I was hooked.  I went to a game store one of the other guys told me about (I think the name of it was Enterprise 1701, but I'm not 100% sure) during the next week and bought the Players Handbook and began playing with the group every other Saturday.  One of my girlfriends had found someone else to date (which was fine by me, she was sort of high maintenance), and the other one actually said the game sounded interesting, so I talked to the Chief and he said sure, bring her in, so she joined the game and played with us.

I played Corwin the ranger from April of 1980 through February of 1981, when I left the Training Facility.  I had a blast and during that time I found something that I have enjoyed to this day.

I stopped playing for a while after I left Orlando, but started up again after I had came home and went to work running a local computer store in my home town.


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